When I took a look at Box Boy for the very first time, I felt as though I shouldn’t like it. Something about it reminded me of the darker times of the iOS App Store (and as a former reviewer of those games, I can say this), when the experiences were cheap, and far from interesting. I didn’t really know what to make of it, and because of that, I almost wrote it off. Let’s just say, I was wrong about that, and that if you own a 3DS you need to play this game. Don’t ask questions just do it.
Box Boy starts off a little bit slowly, which for puzzle games, is the kiss of death. You want to be able to understand the mechanics of what the game is asking you to do, and move through each stage as quickly as possible. Puzzle games are weird in the sense that the gimmick has to grab you almost immediately, and if it doesn’t, then the player 9 times out of 10 loses interest, and moves on. However, Box Boy’s pacing works to its advantage. Not only do you learn how to use Box Boy’s box creation, but once you get to the more difficult levels, you actually know how to play the game, and navigate through each stage in some pretty interesting ways.
In Box Boy you guide Qbby, as he makes his way from one end of the stage to another. You’ll avoid traps, press switches, and dodge lasers, by mastering Qbby’s box spawning ability. The boxes you create can be made into platforms, shapes, and can even be used to reach higher platforms, or to cross long gaps. Through the first 5 worlds, you’ll practice each ability, and they’ll then become second nature once you start going through the more difficult stages. Each stage will also have Crowns to collect, which adds to the replay value. However, one thing to remember is that if you create too many blocks in the stage you’re currently in, the crown will disappear. So if you’re a completionist, this may drive you crazy, but you’ll still have a good time. Once a stage has been completed you’ll collect medals, which you can then spend to purchase costumes, hint books, bonus stages, and purchase tracks from the game.
With HD re-releases being spread all across the first half of 2015, finding a title out there with originality has been a little tough. Box Boy, to me, has enough going for it that you could actually make a strong case for it being a potential game of the year candidate. Of course, it’s still a little early to tell if a game like Box Boy has legs, especially if the second half of the year has some heavy hitters. With a plethora of levels, friendly check-point system, and simple to grasp gameplay, Box Boy could very well be one of the best games of the year.